Planet Earth II burst onto our screens on the 6th of November 2016, I was one of the lucky few that were able to go to the premier and I loved it, but the documentary is not without controversy.
The documentary itself is made up of 6 episodes; Islands, Mountains, Jungles, Deserts, Grasslands, and Cities, and follows a number of animals who survive in these habitats. It provided both thrills in the iguana vs snake scenes, heartbreak in the baby turtle scenes and laughter in the jungles episode as the wildlife was determined to destroy the film equipment. On top of this, the musical accompaniment by Hans Zimmer was flawless in its delivery.
However, many people have voiced the opinion that the series has been a “disaster for the world’s wildlife”. Their main argument is that through showing us these creatures in these isolated paradises they lull the audience into believing that everything is ok, that these animals are doing fine and we do not have to be concerned by their dwindling numbers. To the credit of the series makers, however, I would make the point that they definitely do warn of the dangers of man to the natural world and that they do make it clear they have to go to remote locations, just watch the penguins and turtles episodes for proof. The issue that arises is with not the series itself, but with all wildlife film-making.
The reason that film-makers must go to remote locations is, in short, because that is where the animals are. People want to see these beautiful and majestic animals in the wild, they want to see them in their natural habitat so what else can the documentarians do other than showing them this? We have been warned in Planet Earth II about the dangers that animals face because of us. The hope is that as the population sees these animals on our screens and fall in love with them we decide to become responsible for our actions as humans and begin to change the way we see the natural world and our place within it. As David Attenborough puts it
“It is, surely, our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on Earth”
I highly recommend the series, it is incredibly beautiful and, at points, highly emotional. I would also encourage viewers to think more closely about their choices and how it will affect the world around them. This is one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen and is definitely worth a watch.